Pigments

March 21st, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

We’ve posted several entries about our Armenian scrolls lately and throughout, we talk about pigments. We’ve looked at them with X-ray flourescense, we’ve made some educated guesses by eye, and soon, we’ll be setting up a polarized light microscope to take yet another look in yet another way.

Just this morning, we had some visitors to the lab and, of course, they were taken in by the scrolls. One person asked if the illuminations were watercolor. This led to some conservatorial muttering between Kristen and myself, and reminded me that not everyone spends their days with XRF, egg tempera and isinglass.  So, here’s a quick, fun, introduction to the world of pigments: http://www.webexhibits.org/pigments/

And, in “The Next Age of Discovery,” Andrea Alter for the Wall Street Journal explains how multi-spectral imaging, x-ray flourescence, and CAT scanning are being used in conservation. These techniques are becoming more affordable and usable, and provide tremendous opprtunties for the study and conservation assessment of artifacts.

Armenian Scrollapalooza: #1656

October 1st, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

1656 31 recto after 2For those who are curious about the Armenian scrolls, we’re posting two galleries of photos: #1656 (this post) and #2089. These were taken by our conservator, Kristen St. John, as part of her pre-treatment planning and documentation. We’ll follow up with a post on some of our observations about specific conservation needs and interesting features. If you have questions or observations, please click the “read the rest of this entry” link to see all the photos and leave a comment.

The complete set of recto images for scroll #1656 follows:

» Read the rest of this entry «

Armenian Scrollapalooza: #2089

October 1st, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

2089 18 10 recto before

For those who are curious about the Armenian scrolls, we’re posting two galleries of photos: #2089 (this post) and #1656. These were taken by our conservator, Kristen St. John, as part of her pre-treatment planning and documentation. We’ll follow up with a post on some of our observations about specific conservation needs and interesting features.

If you have questions or observations, please click the “read the rest of this entry” link to see all the photos and leave a comment.

» Read the rest of this entry «

Armenian Scrolls: Part One of Many to Come

September 30th, 2010 § 3 comments § permalink

UCLA Library has very rich collections of Armenian materials, including many scrolls. We have had several down to the lab for treatment and yesterday, we had a really informative visit with two of our local experts.

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Tamar Boyadjian (left) received her PhD from UCLA and is now working with the Library as a CLIR Fellow. Tamar is a great resource for us on Western and Eastern paleography and codicology, and we’re excited to have her work on some of our significant collections of Armenian materials.

Nora Avetyan (right) is a cataloger with a special expertise in Armenian and Near-Eastern languages. She’s been spending part of her time processing and describing these materials in support of some of the Library’s new projects focusing on ephemera collections and expanding access to materials outside the traditional published record.

The scrolls all require some treatment. Almost every one requires flattening and in several cases, the materials used to splice together the sections of the scroll are failing. We also have at least one major conservation project in the offing for this collection:

BigScroll

You might have seen our earlier entry about pigment analysis of this scroll and if you have 400MB of bandwidth to spare, you can see a high definition video of the entire scroll, front and back.

Portable XRF Pigment Analysis

April 6th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

We recently had the pleasure of a visit from our colleague David Scott. David is a faculty member in the Department of Art History and Chair of the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program. He’s also our local expert on inorganic pigments so we were delighted to welcome David to our lab with his portable XRF machine to help us analyze the illuminations on a few of our Armenian devotional scrolls.

David Scott and Portable XRF

Prof. David Scott setting up a portable XRF

The portable XRF is a fantastic device that allows for non-destructive micro-testing of pigments. “XRF” stands for X-ray florescence. An XRF spectrometer illuminates a sample with an X-ray beam that is scattered and absorbed in a manner that depends on the chemistry of the sample. This used to require bringing artifacts to the XRF  and placing it inside a lead chamber for testing. The logistics of transportation are sometimes obstacle enough, to say nothing of trying to place a scroll inside a lead chamber.

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